Creative Arts Fellowships, supported by the Friends of the Library and the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust, offer Australian artists and writers an opportunity to develop new work that is inspired or informed by our collections.

2024

Dr Jo Langdon, Creative Arts Fellow in Australian Writing (supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust)

‘That / is history. This / is only poetry’*: poetic biographies and explorations of aviatrix histories

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Photo of Jo Langdon

This project will create new poems based on the National Library's archival sources on aeronautics and Australian aviatrixes, looking at the historical and biographical records of women pilots including Millicent Bryant, Maude ‘Lores’ Bonney, Freda Thompson, Nancy Bird-Walton and Robin Miller Dicks (aka 'The Sugarbird Lady’). These poems will create a textual 'mosaic' of voices and histories, and complete a new poetry manuscript that in part reimagines the lives of American aeronaut sisters Millie and Essie Viola, who toured Australasian colonies during the 1890s.

Dr Jo Langdon is the author of two poetry collections: a chapbook, Snowline (Whitmore Press, 2012), which was co-winner of the Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize, and Glass Life (Five Islands Press, 2018). Her recent poetry, fiction and essays also appear in literary journals and anthologies such as Best Australian Poems (Black Inc.), Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter), RESILIENCE (Mascara and Ultimo Press), and What We Carry (Recent Work Press). In 2020 her short fiction was shortlisted in the Newcastle and Olga Masters short story awards, and she was the inaugural winner of the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction. She has served as an editor for the journal Mascara Literary Review and in 2022 was guest co-editor of an edition of Cordite Poetry Review themed 'Open'. Jo currently lives and writes on unceded Wadawurrung land, where she also teaches writing and literature as a sessional academic.

Ms Celia Craig  Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Friends of the NLA)

Complete Accord: Miriam Hyde

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Photo of Celia Craig

Dr Miriam Hyde OBE, AO, is often remembered for her contributions to the Australian music education scene, as composer of exam music and patron of competitions. But she began as a teenage piano virtuoso, taking London by storm while playing her own piano concerti and others with England's major orchestras and conductors, while still a student. Through this Fellowship, Craig will examine original manuscripts and create new performing editions to develop a new program for her Tarrawatta Trio, bringing Miriam Hyde's unique character and virtuosity to greater public attention.

An Associate of Royal Academy of Music since 1997, awarded Exhibitions, Craxton Chamber Music Prize, Advanced and Licentiate Diploma by the UK’s oldest Music Conservatoire, Celia Craig is a neurodiverse classical artist with synesthesia. She has enjoyed a 30-year elite orchestral career, touring on five continents. As Resident Artist for the National Trust of South Australia, Celia now produces chamber concerts in exquisite venues. She is a Business SA Encore Entrepreneur and founded independent record label Artaria in 2017. Her debut synesthesia-inspired classical video production was broadcast on SBS and at Palace Nova Eastend cinema.  Her primary education program for Musica Viva in Schools, ‘Colours of Home’ with electric guitarist Caspar Hawksley, exploring emotions through improvisation, tours to primary schools nationally, inspired by her lifetime experience of chromesthesia (involuntary mixing of colour and sound) and has identified other young synesthetes.

2023

Dr Christina Thompson, Creative Arts Fellow in Australian Writing (supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust)

Palapala: a tale of reading, writing, and books

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Photo of writer Christina Thompson

A work of creative nonfiction that tells the story of how and why the technology of writing was introduced to the Pacific in the early decades of the 19th century, how it was understood and embraced by the Islanders, and what consequences this had.

Christina Thompson is the author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, which won the 2020 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and the 2019 NSW Premier’s General History Award, and was a finalist for the 2020 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, the 2019 Mountbatten Maritime Award, the 2019 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, and the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Her first book, Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, was a finalist for the 2009 NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the 2010 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.

Mr Sam Wallman, Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Friends of the NLA)

Green and Pink Bans

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Man with short brown hair and beard in checkered green and black button-up shirt smiling

The Pink Bans were a series of work stoppages and industrial bans carried out by unionised construction workers in the 1970s in defence of persecuted LGBTIQA+ people (before the emergence of the gay rights movement).This project hopes to inspire a series of large format original illustrations and a large scale banner produced in the highly ornate style of trade union banners of the 1900s. The illustrations would form accessible summaries of the history of these movements, built around specific things uncovered in the NLA collections. The banner produced would be a celebration of the supposedly unlikely coalition of blue-collar workers and queer people. It would feature illustrations and text adapted directly from things uncovered in the collections.

Sam Wallman is a gay comics-journalist, cartoonist and editor based primarily in Melbourne, with a keen interest in history. His illustrated work has been published in the Guardian (Australia and UK), the New York Times, the ABC and SBS. In 2016 he visited the U.S. to draw everyday people's responses to the Presidential Election for Australian, Italian and American media outlets. He spent several years working as Art Editor and a Contributing Editor for Overland Journal. Three of his pieces of long-form comics-journalism have been nominated for Walkleys, including 'Winding Up The Window: The End Of The Australian Auto Industry' and 'A Guard's Story: At Work In Our Detention Centres', which won the 2014 Human Rights Award in the Media category.

2022

Dr Tonya Lemoh, Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Friends of the NLA)

Interiors: The musical world of Henry Handel Richardson

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Photo of pianist Tonya Lemoh
Photo credit: LB Westersoe

This multimedia project will produce a staged presentation of Richardson’s creative journey in music, expressed through her songs, letters and novels.

Tonya Lemoh is a performer and music researcher with a strong background in Australian music. Her research centres on exploring music by lesser- known composers of cultural significance and creating audio documents of their output. She holds piano performance degrees from Australia, the USA and Denmark, and was a faculty lecturer at Copenhagen University for over ten years.

Ms Theresa Borg, Creative Arts Fellow in Australian Writing (supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust)

HYGEIA: Feet of Clay

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Photo of Theresa Borg

This research project will produce a historical play, entitled Hygeia, based on true untold stories. It is set at the Australian Racial Hygiene Congress of 1929 and investigates the intersections between early white feminism, eugenic thought and white supremacy.

Therèsa Borg is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts Masters Theatre (Writing) & Opera Studio programs. Directing credits include 'Sweeney Todd', starring Anthony Warlow and Gina Riley at Her Majesty's Melbourne (2019), and 'The Light in the Piazza' at Arts Centre Melbourne (2016). She has played principal roles for Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Company, Opera Australia, and Victorian Opera. Therèsa founded Melbourne production house Entertainment Store/Life Like Touring and over the course of 20 years wrote and directed over 20 family musicals for international studios.

2021

David Wickham, Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Friends of the NLA)

Frederick Septimus Kelly: the Lost Olympian

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Photo of David Wickham at the piano

David will examine the manuscripts of Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916), a prolific and prodigiously talented musician and composer. David seeks to restore the parts of Kelly’s body of work that have been forgotten since his death by typesetting and editing them, and preparing them for publication in five new volumes. At the conclusion of the project, songs, solo piano works and the first Violin Sonata will be performed in Canberra for the first time since Kelly’s death. A lecture-recital will also be given, comparing Kelly's work with that of Australian contemporaries and that of Ralph Vaughan Williams up to the age that Kelly achieved when he was killed on the Somme.

David Wickham is a pianist specialising in accompaniment, and has recently performed with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and the West Australian Opera. His field of research is Australian art song, a body of work begun while he was a lecturer at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. David has recorded 9 CDs of Australian songs and chamber music, and edited 32 volumes of art songs for Australian classical music publisher Wirripang.

Dr Jordie Albiston, Creative Arts Fellow in Australian Writing (supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust)

Frank: Hurley in Antarctica

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Photo of poet Dr Jordie Albiston at a whiteboard

Dr Albiston’s project will comprise poems based on the diaries of Australian photographer and Antarctic adventurer James Francis Hurley. Approximately 120 poems will offer a poetic mosaic of Hurley's experiences between 1912 and 1920, at the end of the heroic age of exploration. Dr Albiston believes that historical narratives may yield a strange and unexpected power when subjected to the pressures of poetic form. In this way, Dr Albiston seeks to bring Hurley’s thoughts and actions to life in a manner never seen before.

Dr Jordie Albiston is a Melbourne poet who has published twelve full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is element: the atomic weight & radius of love (Puncher & Wattmann, 2019). Two of her early collections were adapted for music-theatre, both enjoying seasons at the Sydney Opera House. For Dr Albiston’s work she has been awarded the Mary Gilmore Award, the Wesley Michel Wright Prize, the NSW Premier's Prize and the 2019 Patrick White Literary Award.

2020

Anthony White, Creative Arts Fellow

The Stockade project

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Photo of artist Anthony White in his Paris studio.

Photo courtesy Christophe Maizou

Anthony will investigate material from the Sidney Nolan collection related to the creation of the Eureka Stockade mural commissioned by the Reserve Bank, to inform a new body of abstract paintings that incorporate painterly interventions and collage for exhibition in 2022.

Anthony White is an Australian artist who lives and works in Paris, France. Since graduating from the National Art School, Sydney, White has produced international exhibitions for galleries based primarily in Australia and in Hong Kong, London and France. He has been the recipient of numerous international commissions and residency programs, most recently the 2017 International Painting Symposium at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, Latvia. Over the last decade White has retained strong links with Australia, regularly exhibiting in Australian galleries and with European-based Australian artists.

Ms Nadia Bailey, Creative Arts Fellow for Australia Writing

Darkened Rooms

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Black and white photo of writer Nadia Bailey.

A planned novel of historical fiction set in the stark landscape of rural Victoria of 1917, Darkened Rooms will bring to light a forgotten moment in Australian history where Spiritualism briefly flourished, and faith, science and the occult collided with extraordinary results. Exploring the emotional impact of war on those who are left behind and the lives of queer women in early 20th century Australia — women who lived in plain sight as “intimate friends” but whose experiences could only be recorded in coded texts — this novel’s creative re-imagining of Australia’s post wartime history will foster reflection on contemporary concerns surrounding faith, remembrance, women’s rights and queer identity.

Nadia Bailey is an author, journalist and critic. She has published three non-fiction books on popular culture with Smith Street Books, and her short fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction has been widely represented in journals and independent presses. In 2019, she was selected as a UNESCO City of Literature Creative Resident and will spend two months in Kraków developing a work of historical fiction.

Dr Judith Crispin, Honorary Creative Arts Fellow for Australia Writing

Tracking Charlotte

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Photo of Dr Judith Crispin examining artworks.

Research into the NLA’s collections will lead to the writing of a book of prose poems and drawings around the life of Charlotte Clark, a Bpangerang custodian of goanna songlines, and Judith’s matrilineal ancestor. Charlotte exists only in orally transmitted anecdotes, entries in a leger, a single historical photograph - but her world was captured in drawings by her countryman Tommy McRae. Using the NLA archive of McRae’s drawings as a primary resource, Judith aims to contextualise Charlotte Clark, reimagining her through original drawings and poems, into a book of creative non-fiction poetry, an imagined biography of a woman whose story has been stolen by our Colonial past.

Judith Nangala Crispin is a poet and visual artist with a background in music. She has two published poetry collections, The Myrrh-Bearers (Sydney: Puncher & Wattmann, 2015) and The Lumen Seed (New York: Daylight Books, 2017). Her work has been read and exhibited at festivals in Medellin, Berlin and Pingyao and has been translated into Spanish, German and Mandarin. Her visual art is exhibited and published internationally at galleries and festivals. Judith holds a Ph.D from the Australian National University and has undertaken postdoctoral research at Paris Sorbonne and in Berlin as a Humboldt fellow. She is currently enrolled in a second doctorate (in poetry) at the University of Sydney. Much of Judith’s writing is centred around the experience of searching for her Bpangerang ancestry, and her long-term friendship with Warlpiri people.

2019

Joel Bray, Creative Arts Fellow

Burbang

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Photo of choreographer Joel Bray in front of the National Library of Australia.

Joel Bray grew up in country NSW, studied dance at NAISDA and WAAPA. Joel danced in Europe for most of his career and now lives and works in Melbourne. Joel is of Wiradjuri, Scottish and English heritage. His choreography springs from his Wiradjuri heritage. Rather than attempting to recreate a supposed Indigenous ‘form’, his methodology is rooted in traditional Wiradjuri ways of making work: durational, site-specific and cross-genre processes. His works are often intimate encounters with small audiences in unorthodox spaces, in which audience-members are ‘invited in’ as co-storytellers and co-performers. Joel's research of the primary and scholarly sources documenting traditional Indigenous ceremonial practices in the South-east of the continent will inform his new project Burbang, a work of immersive dance-theatre.

Burbang Fellowship Presentation

Dr Kyra Giorgi, Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing

Horizontalism

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Photo of writer Kyra Giorgi

Dr Kyra Giorgi is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, originally from Western Australia. She completed a doctorate in History (Latrobe University), a comparative study of emotion-based concepts of collective identity. Her project, Horizontalism, is a historical novel set in Australia and Portugal in the 1960s and 70s. It follows Felix, born in Sydney to Portuguese parents, through the journey of re-emigrating to Portugal, and his return to Australia as an adult. Kyra will build a sense of the political and social climate at the time in Australia, Timor and Portugal from 1970s newspapers and oral history interviews.

Narrating the Past; National Legacies Intertwined Fellowship presentation

2018

Dr Carolyn Young, Creative Arts Fellow

Re-imagining Australian Mammals: Past and Present

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Photo of Dr Carolyn Young.

Dr Carolyn Young uses photography ‘to re-think, re-imagine the human place in nature’. Carolyn will research sources including John Gould’s Mammals of Australia to make new art focusing on endangered species in grassy woodlands. Carolyn has a PhD in photography, an Honours degree in Natural Resources and previously worked as an environmental scientist. She won the Pat Corrigan Acquisitive Award, Centre for Contemporary Photography 2016. Her photography is also held in the collections of Parliament House, the ANU, and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Liam Pieper, Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing

Bittereinder

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Photo of writer Liam Pieper

Liam Pieper's debut novel The Toymaker (Penguin Australia) was published to critical acclaim in 2016. Liam’s new work explores the story of Indigenous Australian soldiers who fought for the British Empire in the Boer War, and the shift in their standing from the battlefield to return to an emergent White Australia. His fiction investigates 'intersections between Australian experience and global socio-politics’ and he will draw inspiration for his historical novel Bittereinder by researching the Library’s archival collections, sheet music and official records of war.

Bittereinder: Researching Revisionist Fiction Fellowship Presentation

2017

Timothy Daly, Creative Arts Fellow

FRAGRANCE: A theatre script-in-development, a psychological thriller on the sexual and cultural politics of the art world

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Photo of playwright Timothy Daly.

Timothy Daly is one of Australia’s leading playwrights, with a string of national and international productions to his credit and featuring leading companies and actors, including Geoffrey Rush in The Don's Last Innings, Cate Blanchett in Kafka Dances, and Jacki Weaver in Derrida in Love. Kafka Dances has won moee than a dozen national and international awards since its première and is the most internationally-performed Australian play of all time. Timothy's Fellowship will focus on developing a new play drawn from the personal papers of creative artists, art dealers and entrepreneurs.

Dr Michelle Aung Thin, Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing

Cosmopolitan Rangoon through the eyes of Gordon Luce. Or, how the politics of authenticity shape the intimate

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Photo of writer Dr Michelle Aung Thin

Dr Michelle Aung Thin is a lecturer in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University. Her first novel The Monsoon Bride was published in 2011 by Text Publishing. Her Fellowship will help develop a novel about contemporary Myanmar and colonial Burma, using the Gordon Luce collection.

Love, Loss and the Last Days of Rangoon Fellowship Presentation

2016

Micharne Cloughley, Creative Arts Fellow

Research and develop a verbatim theatre play using oral historian Hazel de Berg's interviews with Australian feminist women

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Photo of screenwriter Micharne Cloughley

Micharne is a playwright with credits in Australia and the USA, including the plays, The Way They Live and The End and The Beginning (co-writer), performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Paul Daley, Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing

Research on postcolonial frontier settlement and scientific exploring expeditions for a novel about black and white politics in Australia

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Photo of writer Paul Daley.

Paul Daley is a novelist, essayist, short-story writer, playwright and multi-award-winning journalist whose books have been shortlisted for major literary prizes.

2015

Chris Williams, Creative Arts Fellow

Discovering ‘The Desolate Kingdom’: exploring the imaginary cultural space of Nigel Butterley's 'lost opera'

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Photo of composer Chris Williams.